Concerned about federal cuts to energy assistance programs, Howard County and other counties in Central Maryland will hold rallies tomorrow to collect money for a program that helps low-income residents pay heating bills.
The Community Action Council of Howard County, a nonprofit agency, will hold its rally at 11 a.m. tomorrow outside the county office building in Gateway Industrial Park. As a symbol of the fund-raising drive, gloves will be given away at the rally.
Money raised during the rallies will go to the Fuel Fund of Central Maryland, part of a national nonprofit effort to help the needy. The Fuel Fund of Central Maryland gives between $700,000 and $750,000 each year in Baltimore City, and in Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, Howard and Anne Arundel counties.
Under the program, Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. pays one-third of an eligible low-income customer's bill up to $200, and the Fuel Fund and the customer pay the rest.
The federal government has yet to fund the federal Energy Assistance Program, which helps needy families with heating bills. Social service agencies have been warned by state officials to expect severe cuts to that program when lawmakers finally allocate money for it.
"We're anticipating some hardships, especially among some of the elderly," said Dorothy Moore, executive director of Howard County's Community Action Council.